Greta Bush is a remarkable community leader who is the spirit and driver behind High Point Community Against Violence (HPCAV). Greta has always been a force of nature; a vibrant, energetic woman whom one feels immediately drawn to.  She radiates motherly love and concern; she has very high expectations and trust me, she is not a woman you want to disappoint.

The occasion for my first meeting with Greta was a community “Call-In” at the High Point Police Department in the fall of 2000.  This was a new, innovative venue created by a partnership between the HPPD and HPCAV, a group of local leaders who believed it was time to address the rapidly escalating violent crimes threatening their neighborhoods. By working together, they were identifying, investigating, and confronting High Point’s most dangerous criminals.  Their attendance at this meeting was not voluntary, the invitees had been summoned by the Police and were expected to be there. The evening’s agenda opened with a meeting where Greta and a group of community volunteers appealed to the targeted offenders in a civil, but firm voice that underscored a collective demand that their criminal behavior must stop immediately.

They were then ushered into another room where you could immediately sense the atmosphere had shifted dramatically.  Up front, facing the guests, were representatives from every local, state, and federal law enforcement agency with High Point’s Police Chief, Jim Faley, presiding.  His tone was stern and ominous, he revealed these agencies had been watching them, gathering evidence, making cases, federal cases, that would put every one of them in federal prison for a very long time.  He assured them there were now targets on their backs and tonight was the only chance they would receive to cease their criminal activities.  If they accepted this opportunity, assistance would be offered to assist them in starting new lives.  If they turned down the offer, they were going to prison and HPCAV already had a long list of successful convictions.

This approach to community crime deterrence was one of the first to bring police and the community together as a team to combat violence. It put High Point on the map and became a national model which was admired and replicated throughout the county.  Men like; Jim Summey, Chiefs Louie Quijas, Jim Faley, Marty Sumner, Ken Shultz, and Travis Stroud faithfully championed the endeavor, but over the years it has been Greta who remained the heart and soul of this innovative endeavor.

Too often we fail to take the time to celebrate our victories and give credit where credit is due.  The success of HPCAV has been so significant they are now able to shift their focus to younger offenders to address the problem upstream. I want to encourage our entire community to support HPCAV by matching our grant with your own philanthropic dollars.  Finally, I salute my friend Greta, our High Point Police Department, and the many community volunteers who have, over the years, made our city a safer place for all of us.  For Good, For High Point, Forever…